Although the Pitt River and the lake are tidal, a system of dykes and pump houses controlling the water levels counteracts brackishness and has enabled freshwater marsh and spirea bog to develop. To encourage waterfowl, grass and plants have been allowed to grow and nesting areas have been built, protected from people and predators by canals; water management schemes of beavers and muskrats are kept in check. Minks, foxes, coyotes, bears and deer visit or inhabit the area. There is no dull season on the marsh.
In the winter months you’ll see, among others, widgeon, pintail, gadwall, goldeneyes, grebes and mergansers, and tundra and trumpeter swans. Woodland birds frequent the shrubby areas year-round, while swallows, warblers and flycatchers arrive with the warmer weather. Raptors can be seen at most times. The marsh itself changes with the seasons too, the winter monochrome giving way to a range of browns, greens and blues, subtly enhanced by reflections, and frost-whitened dyke tops become narrow paths between waist-high grass entwined with wildflowers. The backdrop of mountains is breathtaking whether capped with snow, shrouded in mist, or starkly blue against a threatening sky.
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